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Good Kids

2.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  470 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
The critically acclaimed author of American Nerd makes his fiction debut with this romantic tragicomedy about a teenage boy and girl who discover his dad is having an affair with her mom. For readers of Chad Harbach and Jennifer Egan, and fans of filmmakers like Noah Baumbach.At fifteen, Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn catch Josh’s father and Khadijah’s mother ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,413)
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Leslie Jamison
Sep 21, 2012 Leslie Jamison rated it it was amazing
Here's what happened when I started reading this book: I started and didn't want to put it down. Kept thinking up reasons to go home and pick it up again. Kept thinking, through the course of my day, about when I was going to go home and pick it up again. It's one of those books, where once it was done I felt sad but also deeply aware of why I'd wanted to become a writer at all--which is to say, because I wanted to give other people the experience I'd just had, of wanting to return to the world ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Alexandra rated it liked it
Upon finishing Good Kids, it is very obvious to me that Benjamin Nugent wrote pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. His writing style is VERY New York Times. Although he is very astute and descriptive, sometimes I felt exhausted reading this.
I feel like he tried so hard to be..modern and smart and intellectual that it was just hard to sift through all the big words and super smart observations to the actual story.

You are so liberal, I thought, full of longing. You believe so st
Ben Richmond
Mar 23, 2013 Ben Richmond rated it it was ok
Before even opening this book, I had my doubts. One of the blurbs on the back cover described it as a "literary romantic comedy" which is more accurate than I first realized. Yup, it's a rom-com, but it's literary so don't hold out for such a happy ending.

I wasn't surprised to see that the author was also an essayist, because Good Kids has some great thematic elements--and sort of terrible characters. It's such a fine line between nailing the archetype and getting stuck with a stereotype, and t
Feb 21, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
In truth, I'd give this book 2.5 stars, not 3. Though it started off strong and compelling, it often ended up feeling pretentious. Maybe it was characters (they definitely are) and the situations they find themselves in, but sometimes it was maddening. Though it has moments of romance and I can understand the desire in life to live in dreams, it just didn't flow together all that well. Privileged people with privileged problems. Funny and emotional at times, other times completely unbearable.
Aug 09, 2013 Ann rated it it was ok
I couldn't actually bring myself to finish this, so maybe it's wrong to mark it 'read' and give it two stars. I haven't quit a book since the '90s. But I have so little to rebel against, why not rebel against goodreads.

I only give the very worst of the worst bad books one star, so I should justify why this earned an additional star. It's written well, structurally? Like, it's not well-written, to make it interesting: the author has no voice and the story has no tension. But it is written well i
Katherine Vetrano
May 24, 2015 Katherine Vetrano rated it really liked it
"Literary romantic comedy" were the three words that drew me to this book (found on the back in a quote). Nugent's writing is beautiful, funny, and engaging. I could barely put this down, and then found myself trying to put off reading it because it's only 200 pages long and I didn't want to finish it. The dialogue is punchy, vivid, and often cinematic.

Towards the end, the narrator gets a little rambly/philosophical in a way that I think could have been better accomplished told through the plot
May 21, 2015 Annalise rated it really liked it
Funny, engaging, interesting characters. A compelling story with elements that almost anyone can identify with. Like a coming-of-age for adults. I really look forward to more work by Benjamin Nugent!
Frances Coles
May 29, 2015 Frances Coles rated it really liked it
I ended up enjoying this book quite a lot - it gets better and better and really picks up speed as it goes along, it seems to me - but I also had the definite feeling while reading it that this author comes from a totally different generation than I do (although I think that he is maybe five years younger than I am, at most). And at this point of course there are a lot of writers younger than I am, and it's not like I've had that disconcerting feeling of generational divide with all of their boo ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Fabian rated it liked it
Hipsters in "peril." Sigh.
Feb 13, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
Has a lot to say about the way we let our expectations and the stories we tell ourselves control our lives, parenting and the ways that we can and can't escape our parents' mistakes, the crippling nature of failing to find your identity in young adulthood, and the burdens that come from obsessing over the road not taken. But I don't think this was quite as incisive as the author that is was, it writes about a very narrow slice of humanity in a way that suggests enough self-awareness about the fa ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it
So disappointed by this book! The beginning was promising: funny, and clever, and sad, but midway through the book I just stopped caring about the characters. Josh became sort of unbearable: a smug, navel-gazing Wes Anderson movie times 3. I wish the end had matched the start.
Brigid Maiden
Aug 12, 2014 Brigid Maiden rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
What a great writer! Will look for more by this author. ending was a bit, meh, but didn't take away from my enjoyment of the whole novel. recommend.
Jun 27, 2014 Corey rated it liked it
More like 3.5

It's really good until the end because that's when it really seems like he ran out of steam or wanted to really go for an unfinished, "such is life" kind of ending (which makes it seem all the more like a novel of an unwritten screenplay for a Noah Baumbach film). He perfectly captures the whole music thing, though, so he obviously has been there or knows enough people who've been there to write genuinely about it. This was written for this generation, and he captured it pretty well
Apr 13, 2013 Chad rated it liked it
As the jacket blurb suggests, this is clearly for the Gen Y crowd. This books breezes along much like an early Hornby novel without the really funny bits or the universal moments of identification for the reader. Like Hornby, it is written from the male point of view with very little in the way of feminine revelation or character. That is not to say that it doesn't have some moments of poetry that stick out. I'll be honest, I'm too lazy to get out the book again and list them here. But these mom ...more
Larry Hoffer
Feb 02, 2013 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
To slightly corrupt a cliché, the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn are 15-year-old high school classmates who one afternoon spy Josh's father kissing Khadijah's mother in a natural foods store. The realization that their parents are having an affair creates a strange bond and a tenuous friendship between the two, although Josh finds himself wanting more from their relationship. One afternoon the two sign a vow never to cheat while in ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
I just put this book down and had such a visceral reaction to the ending, or lack thereof, that I had to immediately write this review.

I have never been more disappointed with the ending of a book! It is sad, really, because I had so thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the content of the book up 'til the last 2 chapters. I appreciated the narrator's way of speaking, having highlighted many phrases for awesome quotes for this review, and found myself really getting into the character, flawe
Lindsay Deutsch
Feb 07, 2013 Lindsay Deutsch rated it liked it
Benjamin Nugent's fiction debut represents my Millennial generation perfectly: it blames the Baby Boomers for all our emotional shortcomings, and stars a pop-culture-attuned, out-of-work hipster. It is a well-framed story of love in our culture of infidelity, and, in more ways than one, there's no happy ending.
In 1994, gangly 15-year-old classmates Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn witness Josh's dad and Khadijah's mom kissing in an organic grocery store in their Massachusetts town. Wa
Donna Riley-lein
Feb 20, 2013 Donna Riley-lein rated it liked it
Good Kids

Benjamin Nugent

First, this reviewer has a conflict of interest – her son graduated from Southern New Hampshire University last year. My son did not take English classes as far as I know with Mr. Nugent, a teacher at the college, but I want that to be out there.
Take a fairy smart boy and girl growing up in the hothouse world of a New England university town. If you’ve lived in one of those towns, everything has to be “the best” and life-affirming.
That’s nice until Josh and Khadijah (the
Mar 07, 2014 Prabh rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I tried to like this book. I really did. I made to page 140-something or so, which is pretty far, but I just can't bring myself to continue, despite the fact that I absolutely hate leaving stories unfinished.

The premise sounded wonderful, but the story just didn't play out. The book's great in the first part, bearable in the second, but as you come to the "2006" section it's like the story just... deflates. Young Khadijah and young Josh are sympathetic, but as the story progressed I cared less a
Kailey Mccarron
May 09, 2013 Kailey Mccarron rated it it was ok
When perusing the shelves of my local library, I was unsure what I was really looking for, whether it be a romantic novel, my usual read, or something new. I stumbled upon Good Kids, a novel described as a romantic comedy. I had thought, why not sway away from my strictly romantic novel choices and venture off with some added comedy.

Good Kids, a novel written by Benjamin Nugent is the first novel by Nugent, published January 29, 2013. Goods Kids, is romantic comedy fiction (rom-com), which at f
Feb 23, 2013 Jenny rated it liked it
Review TK

Being in love, I thought, is being half a two-headed monster. There's a reason a creature with two heads is horrifying....Sometimes you get to be the self you've always been, but to be loyal to someone you must be willing to stop being the rebel you used to be. (112-113)

It was strange, the level of familiarity. That double vision, remembering the kid in the adult you were speaking to, it disarmed you. (127)

She kept her tone of voice on a very short leash. (141)

They were still teenagers,
Jun 09, 2015 Joanie rated it liked it
Having spent time in and around Amherst, MA, I enjoyed the setting of this novel. Although some of the characters were not likable, they were believable and true to the world of academia. The book, however, was lacking depth. The main character was missing the emotions that should accompany the valleys in and of his life. It was a quick read, and entertaining enough, but when I finished it, I felt almost like I'd missed something.
Apr 19, 2013 Cher rated it liked it
I wish Goodreads had a more nuanced rating system, as Good Kids A Novel should earn 2.5 stars, but I'll extend 3 stars as a courtesy. I started this novel with interest and hopes for a humorous tale, but found myself frustrated with the wallowing and self-indulgent narrator, Josh. The plot of this 209-page read is generationally precious and self-serious, and develops so slowly as to make the reader lose interest. I rooted for earnest, hipster narrator Josh to get out of his head and make life h ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Shari rated it did not like it
Teenagers, Josh and Khadijah discover that their parents are having an affair. They swear to each other that they will never cheat on anyone. They both keep the oath through their young adulthood, but then they meet each other again. This book was poorly written. The plot was scattered. The characters were not well-developed and were prone to lengthy, nonsensical soliloquies.
May 23, 2013 Karen rated it liked it
I agree with a lot of the other comments here. I loved the first half of this book and found myself constantly laughing out loud. But something happened about halfway through the book -- the characters became more cliched, and the writing became more detached and stylized. Somehow the emotional subtext got lost. I also thought the book reflected a callous indifference to homelessness, with endless passing references to people living on the streets (as opposed to the middle-class "homelessness" o ...more
Mar 09, 2013 Deborah rated it it was ok
2 teenagers discover that their parents are having an affair with each other. This throws them into one another's spheres and they become close, until the affair is discovered and the girl and her mother move away, followed not long after by the end of the affair.

Years later, the 2 now young adults reconnect, but they both been damaged by their town-assunder families and neither finds much hope or happiness.

I might have liked this better if it hadn't been so music-heavy, in a boring way. Additio
Mar 17, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I should have heeded the "for fans of Jonathan Franzen" blurb on the back cover. Just like his books, this was flawlessly written but never compelled me to care about the characters and the terrible relationship messes they get themselves into.
Jan 06, 2015 Alison rated it it was ok
Well, although nobody sounds anything like an actual human being, the prose is pretty good, I guess?

Good Kids is alright for a book where all the characters, even into their old age, think of themselves as fundamentally confused and innocent children, abrogating their responsibilities to themselves and anyone around them. If you're into that, you'll like it. If you're not, tough luck: you'll end up wading through the breakdowns of relationships as characters delude themselves, all in service of
Jun 22, 2015 Maya rated it it was amazing
i read amd loved this book SO much. to me it was touching my heart and the book was great. it was a book that i couldn't put down on the table and stop reading.
Jul 05, 2013 Izzy rated it liked it
This was an interesting book, and not at all bad, but I feel as though I expected more. While I love the concept and plot of the novel, I feel as though some things weren't as developed as I would have liked. Some of the ideas in the story that I found myself most interested weren't dealt with or talked about as much as I hoped they would be. However, Good Kids does have some good qualities. I love the plot of the story, because I felt that it was original. I also loved the way the author ties e ...more
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“I knew, suddenly, that I was someone else, with more elements. It surprised me that the touching of hands could do that: reveal to you a new piece of who you were.” 0 likes
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